The pace of innovation, particularly on the internet, is blazing fast. It seems like not long ago, I was in college at UC Berkeley learning in classrooms without wifi and loading up my TI-85 with Snake and Tetris – the only “mobile games” back then.
Fast forward to today, several significant industries have been disrupted and the old school has been replaced with the new school. Take a look at this dead pool for a second:
- Toys “R” Us
- Circuit City
- Good Guys
- Comp USA
- Tower Records
- Barnes N Nobles
- Montgomery Ward
Your mileage may vary with the examples listed above. What we can glean from that list is technology will continue to disrupt industries whether we like it or not and whether we are ready or not.
Next up is the education sector. Yes, that bubble. One of the biggest bubbles that haven’t been popped yet thanks to its resilience against the little pricks and thorns in its side. The infusion of online courses and degrees combined with the endless amount of free resources have beaten on the walls of higher education, but have yet to break through.
Until now, it seems. Enter Lambda School. There’s a distinct vibe and nice buzz about this startup. The idea itself is very polarizing and somewhat controversial too.
In a nutshell, Lambda School, is a legit online education you can get where you don’t have to pay anything until you get a job. In effect, this is a model that invests in their students. What better way to stand by your product, right? In their words…
Lambda School is a 30 week, immersive program that gives you the tools and training you need to launch your new career—from the comfort of your own home.
There was a time when the perception of an online degree was a third tier thing you could just slap on your resume. University of Phoenix would be the first one that comes to mind. That time is still now.
Then came the rush of the online course platforms. Coursera, Khan Academy, Udemy, EdX, and the University offerings.
When you consider it all as a whole, we’ve actually come a long way – from a pure materials standpoint. You can literally learn anything, from anywhere, for free or a very low cost, and in your pajamas at home.
For the purposes of a higher education though, nobody really considers a degree from University of Phoenix like a degree from Harvard, Texas Tech, UC Berkeley, San Jose State, or UC Irvine. There’s too strong of a perception than an online degree is not as good as your traditional university – and 98 times out of 100, you’re probably right.
What’s interesting is that Lambda School seems like it has already cracked that stereotypical perception of an online degree, and they’re barely just getting started.
Geoff Lewis, Founder of Bedrock, an investor in Lambda School says:
The dramatic impact Lambda has on individual lives is compounded by its impact on employers. Lambda’s focus on rapid curriculum iteration to continuously improve education quality is wowing employers, who have recently begun hiring Lambda graduates in batches, and listing Lambda as a credential on par with 4-year undergraduate degrees in job postings.
Don’t get me wrong, the reason why they’ve been able to crack that perception is because it’s working. The results are speaking for itself, and their model is working.
Lambda School has started with the engineering sector and when they start branching out to other jobs and career types – look out, years from now, in hind-sight, we might wonder why any other model existed in the first place.
Just as Uber disrupted transportation and Airbnb disrupted the hotel industry, my bet is that Lambda School is going to be one of several companies that will disrupt the education industry once and for all, and for the better.
To learn more, a great place to start is this piece by Bedrock, who invested $30 million in Lambda School recently.